The Christmas season is upon us! With only a few days to go, anxiety seems high and stores (and streets) continue to be filled with bustling shoppers rushing from one place to another. It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of Christmas. Don’t forget to breathe every once in a while.
I came across a blog post written by Liz Petrone, a wife and mother, who details her struggles in hosting and prepping for a big Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, it’s a different holiday – but the sentiment and stress can easily apply to Christmas. She ends up realizing that hostess perfection and the “proper to-dos” are not so important afterall. Her experience and words are a reminder to not take life so seriously. Don’t stress yourself out. Enjoy the moment and be thankful.
From gifts to groceries and cleaning house to entertaining visitors, Christmas can feel overwhelming. Here are 10 ways to slow down and enjoy a stress-free Christmas.
1. Plan an Easy Christmas Dinner
There are so many ways to avoid the pressure of the big Christmas dinner! Whether you stick to tried-and-true recipes, host a pot luck, or order take-out or pizza, Christmas dinner can be a breeze! Who says dinner HAS to be one way or another? If you prefer a more traditional meal, then by all means – enjoy yourself! However, if you find yourself frustrated and anxious in planning the menu, then know there are other options!
2. Prep Beforehand
If cooking, whip up what you can the day before. This saves on time in a major way. Brian and I tend to have everything ready the night before to throw in the oven on Christmas day.
3. Split Time Between Family
Visiting with family can take a lot out of you. This is especially the case if a good bit of traveling is involved. While family time is great, things can get complicated when you’re married and visiting both sides of the family. Brian and I have been together for nearly ten years, so we have experimented with a little trial and error. For us, we have found that family time works best when we split the time between both of our families on holidays. It’s way less stressful for us to see his family and my family at separate times than putting EVERYONE in the same room. Nope – doesn’t work and not fun for us. If you are able to schedule time accordingly, splitting time with family allows for you to visit them without the guilt or stress of missing out on family fun during Christmas.
4. Keep The House Clean
Rather than running around the day before and cleaning like a madman, try to keep your house clean and free of clutter leading up to Christmas day. Maintaining a clean space is much easier than washing week-old dishes and month-old laundry. Instead of scrubbing down your house, you will be able to slow down and get in the rhythm of enjoying the holiday season.
5. Forget the Gifts
Forget them – seriously! Okay, maybe not for the children, but consider it for the adults. There is so much societal pressure to BUY, BUY, BUY…but do we all truly need more STUFF? Talk to your family and see what they think. You might find out that everyone is pretty happy with just spending time together and not having to shell out money for gifts. In fact, I am going to address this next week with my family.
6. Make a To-Do List
From groceries to decorations, if you plan on ‘Christmas’ then there’s bound to be a list of things that need checking off. Don’t forget to write it out. Seeing it in black and white helps to remind you and keep you organized. It would not be very fun to be missing dessert just because you forgot to pick some up.
7. Grocery Shop at Off-Peak Hours
You will thank me later. People are crazy (and cranky!) during the holidays. Shopping is a total zoo if you go during the busy time.
8. Enjoy Minimalist Decor
We don’t bother putting up outdoor decorations. In fact, this year, we opted to purchase a pre-lit artificial Christmas tree late in the season (50% off!) and put on just a handful of unique ornaments. Easy!
9. Get Some Sleep
This is huge. A lack of sleep invites stress like no other. Find some time to take a nap or head to bed early. Sip on some tea, pop a valerian root, or read a boring book…whatever works for you, just try to catch some more z’s.
10. Remember to Have Fun
Let go of perfection and live in the moment. Things happen, sometimes they don’t go as planned…but you know what? If you’re with the people you love, what else matters? Keep a lighthearted perspective and have a sense of humor. Remind yourself of what Christmas means to you.
Despite stressful 10-hour work days, I’m looking forward to slowing down and enjoying Christmas. Brian and I wish all of you a stress-free holiday! Here’s to family, friends, and joyful merriment!! Cheers.